Visiting Florida's state parks and beyond in our Roadtrek. This is how we saw it all. Hopefully, the posts will give you some useful information. Questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Weekend at Florida's Lake Manatee State Park

We returned to this quiet park during Christmas week.  This is a great park for getting away from it all.  And, if you fish or kayak/canoe it is even better. Contrary to the name, there are no manatees in the lake or river as the river has been dammed to form the lake which supplies Sarasota and Bradenton with its drinking water. 

There are two loops with paved driveways.  All the sites appear to be very level compacted sand.  This one is perfectly level. Shade varies from full to slightly partial.  Most have palmettos and trees between each site. 

The view out our back window.  

And, the front window.  A great site.

Almost every site had Christmas decorations on the ground and/or on their RV.  Most spent the Christmas week at the park. 

Besides the paved loops and a couple of miles of paved road from the ranger station to the marina and the day park to walk or bike, there is a narrow paved short cut through the campground loops to those areas. 


This path meanders from through the two loops connecting them and the marina/day park.


The day park includes a pavilion, swing set, volleyball court, park benches, picnic tables and a paved trail to the lake.

 Lakeside has tables and benches to use while enjoying the lake scenery.


 And, you can rent a kayak.

But, no swimming. 

Looking for a gator.  None seen.


The marina area is a short walk from the day park and is great launching facility and dock.  You can launch your small boat (20hp max) and do some great fishing or boating...


...or, fish or relax on the dock.   Sitting on the dock of the bay, er, lake.

One of the local residents keeps a vigil on the fishing in hopes of scoring a handout.

 Kayakers paddle by the marina dock.  The lake is large and provides a lot of shoreline to quietly paddle along.

There are three easy hiking trails ranging from .5 to .7 miles in length.  They are all service roads and can be, for the most part, navigated by fat tired bike.  This is part of the Longleaf Lane trail (.53 mi) which connects to the Campground Alley trail and ends up at the day park.

Along this trail we encountered a short trail toward the lake that appears to be a favorite rooting place for the wild pigs on the property.  Saw a sow and three piglets traveling in the bushes.  Don't want to mess with a momma and her children.

This trail also passes through a marshy area as it nears the day park and lake.

Another trail is Campground Alley (.62 mi). that starts on the park entrance road, passes around the two camp loops and ends at the day park area.

 Another view of the trail as it passes by our campsite.  This trail continues to the left.  To the right, just beyond the brown Lopsided Indian Grass starts the Longleaf Lane trail.

 Bobcat Trail (.69 mi) can be accessed at the ranger station or across from the campground area.  It is mostly a service road style trail, but if you take one leg of it you have to walk a bike for a short distance.

A view along Bobcat Trail.

A field of Saw Palmetto and pines.

Some flora along the trails.

A Longleaf Pine against morning gray skies.

Pine Barren Frostweed

Hydrilla. Pieces break off and are seen floating in the currents in the lake.  This clump landed on shore at the day park.

 Florida Tickseed (?)

Purple Thistle

Yellow Bachelor's Button 

Lopsided Indian Grass

And, a visitor to our campsite.  Also saw many butterflies and one Eastern Black Racer.

Sunset on our last evening.

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